Thursday, May 18, 2023 — According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) hypertension or high blood pressure is when the pressure in the blood is too elevated/high (greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg). While common symptoms include severe headaches, chest pains, dizziness and blurred vision, many persons with hypertension will be asymptomatic (i.e., presenting no symptoms or signs of illness) and it is therefore important for persons to regularly check their blood pressure to know whether it is high.
The Caribbean region has the highest prevalence of hypertension in the Americas, ranging from approximately 21% to 27%, in 2021. High blood pressure is the main risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke, which are in turn the leading cause of death in the Caribbean and among OECS Member States .
As we commemorate World Hypertension Day, under the theme, “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!”, the OECS Commission calls on Member States to continue to implement and scale up policies and interventions to combat this deadly disease. These include:
1. Access to adequate screening and treatment programs at the community level
2. Information, education, and communication programs to increase knowledge and awareness of hypertension within communities.
3. Policies to reduce excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, salt and unhealthy fatty foods, which can contribute to hypertension.
4. Prioritize the establishment of community recreational spaces to increase accessibility to safe spaces for exercise.
Recognizing that lifestyle choices play a significant role in the development of high blood pressure, the OECS Commission is also encouraging all citizens to eat healthy, reduce consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and to exercise regularly to prevent and control hypertension. Additionally, we encourage citizens, especially adults, to regularly check their blood pressure and for those that are already diagnosed to be adherent to their medication and clinical follow-up.
Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!